10 Improv Tips

Following the 10 improv tips for better improv acting will help you to become a more dynamic performer. Acting and stand-up comedy can be much more difficult than non-performers will ever understand. For performing artists, the 10 improv tips for better acting can help separate you from the crowd of actors on stage.

  1. Learn to go with it. One of the things that stops people from being good at improv is not knowing how to follow an improv to some kind of resolution. When improv starts to happen, just learn to go with it.
  2. Put some feeling into it. Improv requires practice, and one of the things an improv actor should practice is how to control his reactions to a situation so it does not look rigid or awkward. Remember that emotions are just as much a part of improv as saying the right things. Learn to pair up your words with the proper emotions and put some feeling into it.
  3. Try a character. Improv is the best time to think about developing a new character because you never know what you, or your acting partners, will say next. Try  out new characters during an improv and see where the scene takes you. It could be just the thing you need to give a character idea life.
  4. Make the pauses interesting. Yes, at some point you will want to stop for just a moment and think about what you want to say next. That is just fine, so long as you don't bore the audience while you are thinking. Use hand gestures, funny actions or facial expressions to bridge the gap between ideas to keep the audience interested.
  5. Stay focused. One of the tendencies for people new to improv is to follow tangents away from the original idea until there is no longer a focus for the entire scene. Improv is about staying with one specific scene and then developing ideas for it. Going off on tangents is referred to as brainstorming, and that is not something you should use to improve your acting.
  6. Don't hog the spotlight. If someone interrupts you during an improv, let them chime in. Do not be the one that feels as though she has to be the center of attention or else the improv will fail. Let the entire group get involved and do not hog the spotlight.
  7. Smile and laugh. A well-placed smile or laugh, even if it seems to be done for no reason, can help get the audience laughing. A simple smile or laugh will always get the audience laughing.
  8. If you have nothing to offer, then be quiet. You should only offer something to do an improv if you indeed have something to offer. Remember that the entire acting troupe is working off of a dynamic in an improv. You can ruin that dynamic by feeling as though you have to say something because you have not said anything in a while. You are better served to spend time thinking of something good to contribute rather than saying something that would ruin the flow.
  9. Props. During an improv, you should always be on the look-out for props that can help add an visual element to what you are doing. Using props can help make the improv look almost planned, and adding the visual element helps get the audience more involved.
  10. Let it end. A good improv has an ending to it, and the actors just know when the end has come. When everyone seems to agree that the improv has ended, then let it end and wait for the applause.
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